Born in Cyprus in 1948, when the island was still under British colonial rule, and came to the UK in 1956. He attended Parmiter’s Grammar School in Bethnal Green and read Business Studies at Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England.)
He is a former British diplomat and the first, first generation, migrant (and from a Muslim family) member of HM Diplomatic Service to be appointed a British Ambassador. He served as Ambassador to Iceland, where he was posted twice, following tours of duty in Nigeria, Romania and Germany. His tours of duty in London included the position of private secretary to a FCO Minister, FCO Parliamentary Clerk and FCO spokesman for Asia. He was an immigration officer for nine years at Dover and a visa officer for four years in Nigeria before transferring to the FCO in 1983.
Since retiring in 2008, he has worked in both the private and public sectors and taken on various projects for the UK government. He joined the advisory council of Migrationwatch UK in 2010 and has been deputy to its chairman and founder, Lord Green of Deddington, for over four years. He is a school governor and on the board of the FCO Association and has served on the boards of various charities. He regularly speaks on and participates in debates and seminars on migration and community relations in both the broadcast and print media.
He speaks a number of languages, including Turkish, Greek, French, German, Icelandic and Romanian; although, he says, some of these are now a little rusty. His Twitter profile @AlpMehm describes him as, a Turkish-Cypriot East End Brit and a supporter of Leyton Orient.
Should we fear democracy?
"Although 'battle' suggests destruction, these were some of the most constructive debates I've taken part in. This was civilised conflict in the best sense of both words."
Julian Baggini, author, Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind, and The Ego Trick